Don't be squeamish about northern end of Charles VillageAs...


August 10, 1998

Don't be squeamish about northern end of Charles Village

As the owner of one of the businesses so glibly dismissed by Rosemary Hutzler in her article "Completely Normal's" (Aug. 4), about Normal's bookstore, I was especially disturbed by her characterization of this corner of Charles Village as "squeamish."

Such pronouncements are destructive and insulting, not only to the residents and business owners in the 400 block of E. 31st St., but to anyone in this city trying to mend the worn fringes of his or her neighborhood.

What makes Ms. Hutzler squeamish?

Safety? In more than 13 years on this block, I have yet to hear of any shoppers mugged or carjacked, unlike the frequent occurrences at a suburban mall just a few miles from here.

Sanitation? Granted, this block looks just like any other commercial city block, deprived of a mechanical street sweeper or hokey person (despite the extra taxes we pay to the Charles Village Community Benefits District, supposedly for such services).

Clientele? There's really nothing different about the range of goods and services available here and around the corner on Greenmount Avenue than in say, the currently "hot" Hampden, other than that our business district attracts a more racially diverse clientele.

Readers need to know why they should shop on this block rather than avoid it.

Donna Beth Joy Shapiro


No reason for most people to cheer Ravens stadium

The opening of the new Ravens stadium is not a joy for many Marylanders. A majority of Maryland residents polled were not in favor of using public funds for stadiums.

The needs of this city are great. Not least among them are better housing, roads, schools and much-needed drug treatment centers.

Certainly this is not a time of celebration for everyday working citizens.

Joe Brown


Heritage funding criticism disingenuous, inaccurate

Norman Solomon's article accusing the Heritage Foundation of being less than candid about its funding sources ("Foreign funds flow to U.S. think tank," Aug. 2) seems just a bit disingenuous because Mr. Solomon, according to The Nation magazine, recently received a $100,000 grant to "combat Heritage," a fact he conveniently failed to mention.

For the record, the Heritage Foundation did receive funding in the past (most recently in 1995) from the Korea Foundation. So what? If Mr. Solomon's misnamed Institute for Public Accuracy was really interested in accuracy, he would have done enough research to know that the Korea Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization, not an agency of the Korean government.

Established to promote better understanding of Korea, the Korea Foundation has provided financial support for Korean studies at numerous U.S. think tanks and universities, including Columbia, the University of California at Berkeley and Harvard.

It is partly funded by the Korean government, but that doesn't make it a Korean government agency, any more than the thousands of American organizations that receive U.S. grants -- from the above-mentioned universities to the AFL-CIO, the American Association of Retired Persons and Sierra Club are agencies of the U.S. government.

Herb B. Berkowitz


The writer is vice president of the Heritage Foundation.

Zinman's style freed music from its elitist confines

In response to Mark O'Connor's letter, ("Not all symphony lovers were David Zinman fans," Aug. 3), I do not wish to "stone him" for his opinions on Mr. Zinman's musicianship. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, especially when it comes from someone who seems to be knowledgeable about the issue at hand.

However, I must take exception to Mr. O'Connor's use of the phrase "patronizing drivel" to describe Maestro Zinman's and Lisa Simeone's patter during intermission of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's radio broadcasts. That drivel is probably responsible for the immense popularity of the radio broadcasts.

It is time that we stop treating classical music as the elitist, stuffed-shirt, boring music that some seem to think it is. If an entertaining and educational radio broadcast can enlighten one person who otherwise wouldn't know the power and beauty of classical music, I think it is time well spent.

We need to make the classical music experience more user-friendly to attract new audiences while keeping the musical level high to retain the knowledgeable audiences that attend concerts.

Marshall Mentz


Call for end to The Streak came two years too late

I read with great interest Jim Westwater's article "Time to end The Streak" (Aug. 2), about Cal Ripken Jr. His article was very good, but alas maybe about two years too late.

Cal Ripken is a great person for the sport of baseball and could have been even greater had he taken time off after breaking Lou Gehrig's record. Even as he was near the records, his skills had diminished greatly.

I am sorry for baseball and the Orioles in particular to permit this charade to continue in the interest of one person.

John W. Seifert


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